\ˈkrān \

Definition of crane 

(Entry 1 of 5)

1 : any of a family (Gruidae of the order Gruiformes) of tall wading birds superficially resembling the herons but structurally more nearly related to the rails

2 : any of several herons

3 : an often horizontal projection swinging about a vertical axis: such as

a : a machine for raising, shifting, and lowering heavy weights by means of a projecting swinging arm or with the hoisting apparatus supported on an overhead track

b : an iron arm in a fireplace for supporting kettles

c : a boom for holding a motion-picture or television camera


craned; craning

Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to raise or lift by or as if by a crane

2 : to stretch toward an object of attention craning her neck to get a better view

intransitive verb

1 : to stretch one's neck toward an object of attention I craned out of the window of my compartment— Webb Waldron

2 : hesitate


biographical name (1)
\ˈkrān \

Definition of Crane (Entry 3 of 5)

(Harold) Hart 1899–1932 American poet


biographical name (2)

Definition of Crane (Entry 4 of 5)

Stephen 1871–1900 American writer


biographical name (3)

Definition of Crane (Entry 5 of 5)

Walter 1845–1915 English artist

Illustration of crane

Illustration of crane


crane 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for crane

Synonyms: Verb

boost, elevate, heave, heft, heighten, hike, hoist, jack (up), lift, perk (up), pick up, raise, take up, up, uphold, uplift, upraise

Antonyms: Verb

drop, lower

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Examples of crane in a Sentence


We craned our necks toward the stage. craned her head to see the roof

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These entranceways would have been in the middle of construction sites where there were cranes and all of that. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Destroyed on 9/11, a New York Subway Station Reopens 17 Years Later," 10 Sep. 2018 Inside was an origami crane crafted from a dollar bill. Jim Stingl, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stingl: Driver gives money to a down-and-out man and she's amazed by his generous response," 21 June 2018 When Ars visited on Monday afternoon, there appeared to be cranes and forklifts moving around the site. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Tesla CEO: New “tent” assembly line is “way better” than conventional factory," 19 June 2018 Tractors drove alongside him at night to illuminate the water and he was hoisted over canal locks by cranes. Mike Corder, The Seattle Times, "Ill health forces Dutch Olympian to halt long-distance swim," 20 Aug. 2018 Traffic headaches continued throughout the day Saturday after a crane caught fire at about 10:30 a.m., just north of the Cypress Creek exit on Interstate 95. Anne Geggis,, "Crane fire clogs southbound traffic on Interstate 95," 7 July 2018 Pennsylvania Turnpike/Facebook Police called the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which provided a crane. Scott Berson, charlotteobserver, "Daredevil goats found 50 feet above ground and clinging to highway bridge | Charlotte Observer," 5 Apr. 2018 Of course, in real life, Johnson doesn’t really leap from cranes into burning buildings. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Dwayne Johnson Scales New Heights in Skyscraper," 12 July 2018 Like Rafiki holding up newborn Simba in the opening scene of The Lion King, the various arms of the crane complex push the balloon up and out. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Trumpeter Rex Stewart is the only musician with his instrument tucked under his arm, and Gerry Mulligan craned his neck to be seen. Marc Myers, WSJ, "A Great Day in Harlem, Revisited," 2 Nov. 2018 To find a room’s blind spots, stand in the doorway that leads into the room and notice which parts of the room are harder to see from the doorway without craning your neck. Katie Jackson, Fox News, "10 free tips interior designers charge a lot for," 24 May 2016 There was Ovechkin, eyes shut and neck craned skyward, reacting as the Capitals finally advanced past the second round last month. Alex Prewitt,, "Alex Ovechkin 'Possessed' in High-Energy Game 3 Performance," 3 June 2018 At certain hours, children craned their necks up at the astronomical clock tower in the main square to see sculptures of the three magi emerging on a carousel. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "This Italian Town Once Welcomed Migrants. Now, It’s a Symbol for Right-Wing Politics," 7 July 2018 The player craned his neck around the top of the Cup and smiled. Rick Maese,, "Capitals' T.J. Oshie holds back tears as he shared the Stanley Cup with his dad," 8 June 2018 As that magic hum echoes through Suite 28 above the front straightaway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Rod Polston's head is on a swivel, his neck is craning to move his ears closer to the show. Dakota Crawford, Indianapolis Star, "What a blind man gets from the Indy 500: 'That gasoline thunder'," 24 May 2018 Large crowds gathered Monday night along the Detroit River and on Belle Isle, craning their necks to see the annual Ford Fireworks display. Hasan Dudar, Detroit Free Press, "Boom! Firework display awes huge crowd in Detroit, Belle Isle, Windsor," 25 June 2018 But those traveling east on the road have to crane their necks to see approaching eastbound traffic coming over a hill on the turnpike. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Glastonbury Looking To Align Douglas Road And Sycamore Street," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crane.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crane


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1570, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for crane


Middle English cran, from Old English; akin to Old High German krano crane, Greek geranos, Latin grus

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Dictionary Entries near crane







crane fly

Statistics for crane

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crane

The first known use of crane was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for crane



English Language Learners Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a big machine with a long arm that is used by builders for lifting and moving heavy things

: a type of tall bird that has a long neck and long legs and lives near water



English Language Learners Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch out (your neck) in order to see better


\ˈkrān \

Kids Definition of crane

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a large tall wading bird with a long neck, bill, and legs

2 : a machine with a swinging arm for lifting and carrying heavy weights


craned; craning

Kids Definition of crane (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stretch the neck to see better Neighbors craned out the window to see the parade.

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More from Merriam-Webster on crane

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crane

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for crane

Spanish Central: Translation of crane

Nglish: Translation of crane for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crane for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about crane

Comments on crane

What made you want to look up crane? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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